Multinational packaging provider Amcor has opened an advanced manufacturing plant in Huizhou, China.

The firm invested nearly $100m to develop the 590,000ft² facility, which is claimed to be the largest flexible packaging plant by production capacity in China.

The plant features the country’s first automated packaging production line, as well as high-speed printing presses, laminators and bag-making machines.

In addition, Amcor is installing a smart production and operation system, which it claims is the first in the Chinese flexible packaging industry.

The system will feature light curtains, smart laser scanners, machine guarding and various quality-control points.

Amcor’s Huizhou site has several sustainability features such as a regenerative thermal oxidisers (RTO) system, which can reduce energy consumption and emissions.

The facility will produce flexible packaging for food and personal care products, employing more than 550 colleagues.

It will draw on expertise from Amcor’s Asia-Pacific Innovation Centre in Jiangyin, China, which opened in August this year.

The facility will also address growing demand for flexible packaging across the Asia-Pacific region.

Amcor Greater China vice-president and general manager Xin She said: “This investment is testament to our commitment to grow with our customers in China and throughout Asia-Pacific by bringing the best of Amcor’s global expertise closer to them.

“The world-class capabilities of our new plant are designed to enable us to exceed our customers’ expectations of quality, responsiveness and innovation.”

In a separate development, Amcor and Mars Wrigley Australia have partnered to introduce recyclable paper-based packaging for Mars, Snickers and Milky Way chocolate bars.

Mars Wrigley’s bars with Amcor’s AmFiber Performance Paper packaging will be introduced at Australian supermarkets and convenience stores from April next year.

This packaging will be compatible with standard kerbside recycling collection.

In September this year, Amcor made a strategic investment of up to $45m in US-based packaging firm EPAC Flexible Packaging.